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Resource Management Plan: Recreation planning

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for the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area included extensive public participation.  Public scoping, as well as focus group meetings and surveys conducted by the Natural Resources Land Policy Institute of Mesa State College in 2009 and 2010, revealed the extraordinary value placed on the Dominguez-Escalante NCA by a wide variety of recreationists. The Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area (D-E NCA) will determine the D-E NCA's recreation management approach for the next 15-20 years. 
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Colorado Mesa University Studies


The Natural Resources and Land Policy Institute (NRLPI) of Colorado Mesa University (CMU, formerly Mesa State College) conducted surveys of people using the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area for recreation between April 2009 and July 2010 and held six focus group meetings in the Fall of 2010 that centered on recreation and wilderness management in the NCA. 

These studies provide valuable information about how people use the Dominguez-Escalante NCA for recreation, information that the BLM can use to plan for and manage recreation in the NCA.  

Blue arrow graphic, pointing right Click here for the complete CMU report 

The Dominguez-Escalante NCA provides opportunities for many kinds of recreational activities, including rafting, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, truck, ATV and motorcycle riding, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and camping.
Photograph of kayakers on the Gunnison River in the D-E NCA Photograph of horseback riders in the D-E NCA Photograph of ATVs at an overlook in the D-E NCA Photograph of a rock climber in the D-E NCA
The NCA also provides the opportunity to experience a broad range of recreational settings, from remote wilderness, riparian systems and culturally significant sites to developed roads, trailheads and parking lots.
Photograph of hoodoos (rock spires) in the D-E NCA Photograph of old cart (cultural feature) in the D-E NCA Photograph of vehicle on unpaved road in the D-E NCA Photograph of the footbridge across the Gunnison River at the Bridgeport entrance to the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness
During the resource management planning process, the BLM develops goals, in cooperation with its partners and the public, to guide how recreation in the NCA will be managed.  The BLM designates recreation management areas (RMAs) to facilitate various types of activities and experiences.  In areas where no RMA is designated, the BLM does not directly manage recreation, but strives to manage recreation indirectly by meeting other program goals and objectives.
The legislation that created the Dominguez-Escalante NCA, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, included recreation as one of the purposes of the NCA.   The recreational guidance developed in the draft plan is designed to not only recognize the importance of recreation, but also balance recreational use with the other purposes of the NCA stated in its enabling legislation:
(b) Purposes.--The purposes of the Conservation Area are to conserve and protect for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations--
(1) the unique and important resources and values of the land, including the geological, cultural, archaeological, paleontological, natural, scientific, recreational, wilderness, wildlife, riparian, historical, educational, and scenic resources of the public land; and
(2) the water resources of area streams, based on seasonally available flows, that are necessary to support aquatic, riparian, and terrestrial species and communities.(Section 2402(b))

When developing a range of management options (alternatives) for recreational uses, the BLM takes into account the best available information about all the NCA purposes, including scientific and socioeconomic data as well as public input.

The Proposed RMP/FEIS would designate three Special Recreation Management Areas (SRMAs) and four Extensive Recreation Management Areas (ERMAs). See the recreation fact sheet for details on SRMA and ERMA designations in the Proposed RMP.

For further information, contact the Bureau of Land Management’s Grand Junction Field Office: 

Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area
Bureau of Land Management
2815 H Road, Grand Junction, CO 81506
Phone: (970) 244-3000
Fax: (970) 244-3083